Grand Challenges  Environmental Resilience and Sustainability

UVA TO INVEST $60 MILLION TO PUT CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS IN PEOPLE’S HANDS

See UVA Today story here.

Header Resilience

What if you and your neighbors could work with University of Virginia experts to solve the climate-related problems in your town? What if clean energy solutions created in UVA labs turned into technologies to be shared with the world?

Developing cutting-edge research and putting it into action is motivating the University’s $60 million investment in a collaborative approach to climate change.

Through UVA’s ambitious Grand Challenge Research Initiatives, UVA researchers will pursue two avenues focused on environmental resilience and sustainability: researching and perfecting clean energy, and helping local communities develop best practices for responding to climate-driven challenges.

Led by the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute, the community-based effort will include faculty from schools across the University in a newly formed Climate Collaborative. The group aspires to connect University researchers with policymakers, local officials and business leaders, as well as everyday citizens.

The Climate Collaborative plans to imbed four to six research teams in specific localities dealing with climate-related challenges. The local communities – and people everywhere – will benefit from research being conducted simultaneously on Grounds.

Initial sites will be located in Virginia and other states, and internationally. The model will be scaled up over time, aiming to one day serve as a global model for partnerships between universities and communities committed to solving environmental problems.

Funds will also support additional physical space near Grounds for interdisciplinary collaborations, and for hosting Environmental Practitioner Fellows from a wide range of areas, including sustainability entrepreneurs, former heads of government agencies, community activists and artists.

Developing clean energy will be spearheaded by a second team of researchers from Engineering and Arts & Sciences, with an eye toward scalable solutions. Solar energy is arguably the leading carbon-neutral source that can supply the global demand for energy, but it must be converted to useable and storable forms of energy through chemical and molecular processes known as catalysis.

The University has faculty members focusing on catalysis in several departments, and the hire of four to six new faculty members will build on this strength and bring crucial additional new expertise. The expanded team will implement important new infrastructure to support state-of-the-art research efforts and enable the translation of fundamental knowledge to projects that have potential scalability.

The University also plans to provide seed funding for clean energy research collaborations and develop an Environmental Entrepreneurship Initiative to help launch nonprofit and for-profit ventures, and strengthen the regional clean energy entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The Grand Challenges Fund is providing $50 million of the total for the environmental initiative, with the partnering schools adding at least $10 million more. As part of the investment, the University will provide startup funding for up to 14 new faculty members in multiple schools and develop an interdisciplinary post-doctoral program, emphasizing mentoring the next generation of environmental leaders while promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in its hires. 

Project Teams:

Climate Mitigation: Removing Carbon Through Technology, Behavior, and Policy

Mike Lenox, Professor, Senior Associate Dean & Chief Strategy Officer (Darden)
Ellen Bassett, Professor, Urban and Environmental Planning (SARC)
Lisa Colosi-Peterson, Associate Professor, Engineering Systems & Environment (SEAS)
Scott Doney, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)
T. Brent Gunnoe, Professor, Chemistry (A&S)
Deborah Lawrence, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)

Climate Adaptation: Resilient Cities

Karen McGlathery, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S); Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
Brad Cantrell, Professor and Chair, Landscape Architecture (SARC)
Jonathan Goodall, Professor, Engineering Systems and Environment; Associate Director, Link Lab (SEAS)
Jenny Roe, Professor and Director, Center for Design and Health (SARC)
Jay Shimshack, Professor, Public Policy and Economics; Associate Dean, Academic Affairs (Batten)

Climate and Democracy

Leon Szeptycki, Professor of Law (Law)
Willis Jenkins, Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics (A&S)
Sallie Ann Keller, Division Director, Biocomplexity and Professor, Public Health Sciences (BI/SDS)
Sally Pusede, Assistant Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)
Barbara Brown Wilson, Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Planning (SARC)

 

Grand Challenges Environmental Resilience and Sustainability Forum

Download flyer

November 16, 2021 - 12:30PM-5:30PM at the Rotunda Dome Room. Registration required.

Livestream link: https://youtu.be/UutTla9AJeg

Agenda:

12:30 -12:45 pm Opening Session/Welcome

12:45-1:30 pm  Climate Mitigation: Removing Carbon Through Technology, Behavior, and Policy

  • Moderator: Mike Lenox, Professor, Senior Associate Dean & Chief Strategy Officer (Darden)
  • Ellen Bassett, Professor, Urban and Environmental Planning (SARC)
  • Lisa Colosi-Peterson, Associate Professor, Engineering Systems & Environment (SEAS)
  • Scott Doney, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)
  • T. Brent Gunnoe, Professor, Chemistry (A&S)
  • Deborah Lawrence, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)

Watch

1:30-1:55 pm    Discussion

1:55-2:10 pm    Break

2:10-2:25 pm    Jim Ryan, President 

2:25-3:10 pm  Climate Adaptation: Resilient Cities

  • Moderator: Karen McGlathery, Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S); Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
  • Brad Cantrell, Professor and Chair, Landscape Architecture (SARC)
  • Jonathan Goodall, Professor, Engineering Systems and Environment; Associate Director, Link Lab (SEAS)
  • Jenny Roe, Professor and Director, Center for Design and Health (SARC)
  • Jay Shimshack, Professor, Public Policy and Economics; Associate Dean, Academic Affairs (Batten)

Watch

3:10-3:35 pm    Discussion

3:35-3:50 pm    Break

3:50-4:35 pm    Climate and Democracy

  • Moderator: Leon Szeptycki, Professor of Law (Law)
  • Willis Jenkins, Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics (A&S)
  • Sallie Ann Keller, Division Director, Biocomplexity and Professor, Public Health Sciences (BI/SDS)
  • Sally Pusede, Assistant Professor, Environmental Sciences (A&S)
  • Barbara Brown Wilson, Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Planning (SARC)

Watch

4:35-5:00 pm    Discussion

5:00-5:05 pm  Closing comments

5:05 pm   Reception (Multipurpose Room)

Use IdeaNote to share ideas on Environmental Resilience and Sustainability topics discussed. Find instructions on how to set up an account and use IdeaNote here.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Idea Generation Events

Share ideas and suggestions through September 10, 2021 via the IdeaNote platform available both on the ERI and Brain pages and directly listed below to help refine areas for university investment.

Environmental Resilience and Sustainability - Monday, August 23, 1:00-3:30 PM (watch the videos)